Infrastructure turns into a theme in election-season speeches at Kentucky ham breakfast

Aug 24, 2023, 1:27 PM

Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at the Kentucky Farm Bureau annual Country Ham Breakfast at the Kentucky S...

Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at the Kentucky Farm Bureau annual Country Ham Breakfast at the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. (Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via AP)

(Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via AP)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that building roads and bridges shouldn’t be a partisan matter, but his Republican opponent in the governor’s race tried to deflect any credit away from the incumbent Democrat for a burst of projects underway.

The influx of infrastructure spending turned into a theme in some speeches at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s country ham breakfast — a late-summer tradition that attracts leaders in politics, business and education. Beshear gave updates on three massive projects, while Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell touted the 2021 federal infrastructure measure as a “much-needed gift” for his home state and the country.

McConnell said the infrastructure bill exemplified what the public expects from Republicans and Democrats — to “look for things you can agree on and do those.”

“I had watched the last two administrations struggle with trying to put together an infrastructure bill,” Kentucky’s senior senator said. “When it finally developed, as a result of a compromise in the Senate, that we could actually do something that both sides had been trying to do, I supported it. I’m proud of it.”

The measure will pump more than $6 billion in federal funding into Kentucky over five years to improve the state’s roads, bridges, railroads, riverports, airports, broadband and more, his office said Thursday.

The speeches occurred as Beshear and his Republican challenger, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, jockey for advantage ahead of the November election in the state’s hotly contested campaign for governor. Cameron spoke with reporters at the ham breakfast, but in accordance with tradition — which strictly limits which officeholders get time at the podium — he didn’t get to address the large crowd.

Afterward, Cameron weighed in on the federal infrastructure measure while deflecting credit away from Beshear for the flurry of projects underway.

“I’m grateful for what Sen. McConnell did as it relates to the infrastructure package,” Cameron told reporters. “Grateful for the bipartisan support on that. It’s helping fund projects. I know Andy Beshear tries to take credit for those things. But that was because of the work of Sen. McConnell and others in the United States Senate that that package got passed. And we’re seeing some of the benefits of that.”

Cameron is a protege of McConnell, having worked as the senator’s legal counsel. McConnell strongly backs Cameron’s bid for governor but didn’t comment directly on the campaign in his speech Thursday.

In his remarks, Beshear touched on his main campaign themes — the state’s record-setting economic development achievements during his tenure and his support for big pay raises for public school employees, state-funded pre-K for all 4-year-olds and increased funding for student transportation.

Pointing to the state’s economic momentum, the governor said: “What it means is we have a chance to be the generations that change everything — that turn our brain drain into a brain gain.”

Beshear touted progress on three mega-projects for the Bluegrass State — building a new Ohio River bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio without tolls, widening and extending the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky, and constructing another Ohio River bridge to close a gap in Interstate 69 linking western Kentucky and Indiana. Beshear said his administration has shepherded the progress, working with the neighboring states on those bridge projects.

The Democrat continued to downplay partisan politics as he seeks reelection in his deeply red state.

“I believe that a good job isn’t Democrat or Republican,” he said. “A bridge isn’t red or blue. That clean drinking water and the expansion of high-speed internet are critical for every single Kentucky family.”

In a speech later Thursday in Louisville, Cameron took aim at the many statewide events headlined by Beshear to announce funding projects for communities statewide. It’s an inherent advantage of incumbency practiced by governors from both parties.

“Our current governor has certainly gotten good at taking photos and passing out other people’s money,” Cameron said. “But at the end of the day, not so good at addressing some of those foundational issues that are important to our communities. In fact, in many ways our foundation is eroding underneath us.”

Those foundational issues include public safety and a quality education system, Cameron said. Many students suffered “generational learning loss” from pandemic-era school closures, he said.

Hitting back on Beshear’s economic record, Cameron said Kentuckians are still squeezed by high inflation, and the state struggles with one of the country’s worst workforce participation rates. The Republican nominee said he soon will release his plan for Kentucky’s economy.

“We will reinvigorate the culture that respects work, not one that settles for government dependence,” Cameron said. “My plan will lift up every Kentuckian who works hard, plays by the rules and wants their children to have a better life.”

United States News

Associated Press

Louisiana citrus farmers are seeing a mass influx of salt water that could threaten seedlings

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Commercial citrus growers have dwindled over the past few decades in south Louisiana, where farmers have had to battle hurricanes, flooding, invasive insects, freezes and drought to keep their groves alive. The latest hurdle comes from a slow-moving threat — a mass influx of salt water from the Gulf of […]

39 minutes ago

Associated Press

Seattle cop who made callous remarks after Indian woman’s death has been administratively reassigned

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer and union leader under investigation for laughing and making callous remarks about the death of a woman from India who was struck by a police SUV has been taken off patrol duty, police said. The Seattle Police Department confirmed Thursday that traffic Officer Daniel Auderer “has been administratively […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Truck gets wedged in tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn after ignoring warnings

NEW YORK (AP) — A driver who took an 18-wheel tractor-trailer inside a tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn on Thursday despite height restriction warnings got wedged in, officials said, causing a massive traffic jam until early afternoon when emergency personnel were able to remove it. The truck driver entered the Hugh L. Carey tunnel going […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Ohio football coach whose team called ‘Nazi’ during game says he was forced to resign, no ill intent

BROOKLYN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio high school football coach says he was forced to resign by his school district and intended no harm to opposing players after he and his team repeatedly used “Nazi” as a game call in a Sept. 22 match. In an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, former Brooklyn High […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Former lawmaker who led Michigan marijuana board is sent to prison for bribery

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A man formerly known as a powerful Michigan lawmaker was sentenced Thursday to nearly five years in federal prison for accepting bribes as head of a marijuana licensing board. Rick Johnson admitted accepting at least $110,000 when he led the board from 2017 to 2019. “I am a corrupt politician,” […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Wisconsin corn mill owners plead to federal charges in fatal explosion, will pay $11.25 million

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A milling company has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges that employees at a Wisconsin corn plant falsified records in the years leading up to a fatal corn dust explosion. The plea deal calls for Didion Milling Inc. to pay a $1 million fine and $10.25 million to the estates […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Infrastructure turns into a theme in election-season speeches at Kentucky ham breakfast